MAY 25, 2014



So anyway, So anyway, there got to be almost a fist fight in the Household when Sara wanted the house radio to stay tuned to KPOO while the impatient Suan wanted to get away from that old school stuff in favor of KALW because the last of Smiley and West was going to be on at that time and West was going to be signing off. You can have your poo poo after that, and so she switched the dial.

Nevertheless, Martini wanted to hear the other NPR station that had all the money, (sniffed Suan), which got Javier and Adam involved. Adam wanted to listen to Live 105, if anyone cared, and Javier wanted Easy Listening.

When the dial landed amid argumentation on KCBS everyone learned that another shooter had gone nuts, this time in Santa Barbara, of all places, and the announcer mournfully listed the names of the dead and wounded, so everyone pause for a brief moment before starting up the argument again.

"What's wrong with Fleetwood Mac," said Javier.

This after Denby had gotten mostly done with Rosalie Howarth and the Acoustic Sunrise, so he was miffed at not hearing the end of that Irish guy singing "Love is a Monsoon".

He stomped out in great disgust with everybody shouting at one another and a lowrider cruising down the strip blasting Ice T and Snoop Dogg and Hoody Boyz be Panderin Poodlez, into everybody's homes and garages. And this was distressin' the Citizens.

Another sunny day on the Island had begun.

James went bopping down to the busstop to catch the O Express into the City to take more pictures of The Cuttlefish tag. James had more pictures of the Cuttlefish tag than anyone and he hoped to turn his collection into an exhibit and his earphones channeled Radio Berkeley playing a reprise of a Joe Frick piece until the midspan under a lightly cloud-striated sky that eventually yielded to the most immense ocean of light turquoise for the day and radio silence to James.

Down on the surface of the Bay, Toby and Tommy's Lavendar Surprise scudded before the light winds, the ship to shore crackling with event. Some kayaker had gotten drunk and lost in the sloughs.

"Oooo!" said Tommy and Toby together. "Sloshed in the sloughs!"

That is when Tommy put on the Abba tape, "Dancing Queen", and started doing the shimmy on the quarterdeck making all the people drinking mojitos down below decks come on up, so let us depart quickly and mercifully from that scene.

Pahrump, Jose, and Xavier found the dial tuned to the news station at the Parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West where they had gone to clean up after the Spring Fling and they listened to the latest hand-wringing over Putin's ambitions, the search for the lost airliner in the Indian Ocean, and the latest terrible news about the shooting in Santa Barbara, all of these things being of terrible interest and problematic, but nevertheless entirely explainable. For that, lets go to you, Dan, for an in depth report . . .

The Iglesia de los Loco Diablo de Occupado Parking Spaces held a grand shindig with devotees blocking off large segments of the city curbs for blocks all around their Church of Dementia. The Grand Poobah arrived in a limosine paid for by his flock's donations and Telemundo appeared with microphones to do running interviews as he waved fat, ring encrusted fingers at the bothersome radio papparazzi.

In the City, called to work on the holiday by a boss whom everyone called "dedicated", Marsha turns up the radio to full volume -- nobody else was in the office anyway -- as she works to cobble the report together for Monday, so that it can be torn apart and reassembled in time for Tuesday. It was Live 105, the Alternative Station of course. "Hey people this is the DJ with No Name and I got two tickets with backstage passes to BFD! Yeah! I am stoked! Just be caller number ten and tell me which member of Bush has a wooden leg. By now everybody knows what happened in Santa Barbara Friday and I know, IT SUCKS! Our thoughts go out to the families down there. Ok, here's Bush with 'Everything Zen' . . . ! Call now and be number 10 . . . !"

The day subsided towards evening and Ms. Almeida listened to KMBX, since there was no station broadcasting in Portuguese, the old transistor appliance with its aluminum antenna stuck out to the side at an angle perched on the windowsill above the sink as she did the dishes. The waning moon looks on as she sings along with the folk song melody.

No se como decirte
No se como explicarte
Que aqui no hay remedio
De lo que siento yo
De lo que siento yo

In the half-light of the Old Same Place Bar someone drops quarters into the jukebox and the first song is an old Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Saturday Night Special". All the regulars remain hunched over and no one dances. This night is one devoted to Serious Drinking and personal reminiscences, old companions come and gone.

Eugene watched a box elder bug come from out of nowhere to circle high, then descend above the bar to pause briefly before succumbing to fumes, thence to drop into his beer glass and die. Eugene blinked and looked down at the creature in his glass for a good while before getting a napkin to fish it out.

"Memento mori," Eugene said before taking a sip. Dawn stared at him, mouth wide open.

Out by the old Cannery in the cutout, Officer O'Madhauen sits sipping coffee, listening to the PB radio, hearing other sounds after a long, busy policeman's day. It was a day that included driving to some citizen's home with Ray from OPD to request someone to come down and make "an identification." The place had been rancid with the smells of beans cooking and the sounds of someone practicing mariachi guitar. Those kinds of days were four Pepcid days.

Los besos que me diste mi amor
Son los que me estan matando
Ya las lagrimas me estan secando
Con mi pistola y mi corazon
Y aqui siempre paso la vida con
La pistola y el corazon

The moon, well past the last quarter, waned with adventure towards the New opaque moon before starting all over. The splendid striations of vermilion and azure violently contending with the burnished brass and gold of a troubled sunset had long since collapsed into the exhausted horizon.

Near Fruitvale Station a woman wearing a shawl pauses before a memorial where a framed photograph of a boy about eight or nine leans up against the concrete surrounded by flowers. The woman bends to lay down a wreath and stands up again to remain motionless. Silently, she weaps.

La luna me dice una cosa
Las estrellas me dicen otra
Y la luz del dia me canta
Esta triste cancion
Esta triste cancion

A citizen blew through a red light, clear as blazes, but for once Officer O'Madhauen sat there staring into the pit of that place only First Responders know, remembering that scene when the abuelta rent her scarf with a cry as the two men with belts heavy with gear stood there with bad news, the little plastic radio plainting a tinny cry.

No se como amarte
No se como abrasarte
Porque no se me deja
Dolor que tengo yo
El dolor que tengo yo

But now, the dim leds of the console and the various dashboard instruments barely lit the world enough for discernment. They were designed to be so. The radio crackled with basic communication.
The Officer sipped his coffee.

Out on the chop beyond the Golden Gate Pedro piloted his boat with his trusty labrador beside, both listening to their favorite program, after shifting over from the one dedicated to music to the one that carried his favorite televangelist.

"And now, once again, the Radio is your Friend . . . ! scritch . . . scree . . . sqwawk . . . schnick!"

"Iiiiiiiii hear that old piano, down the avenue! I smell the magnolia. I look around for you . . .".

In the dimly lit cabin, Pedro motors out to the fishing lanes, the season for crab all done and now time for other catch, another season, a man at work, riding his machine just as any farmer would do on the open plains, driving his harvester in the wee hours of dawn across the undulating fields, both with radios tuned to the latest whatever. Barn or fishouse, factory or threshing room, the radio abides as quiet constant companion, broadcasting news or rock and roll like the old field callers to the ones who once picked cotton or grapes, sending the call and response that brought you to the long awaited turn-row, where you got to set down your sack for a brief moment. Like any friend, it provides an estimate of the weather and you trust that as much as you would trust the limits of your friend with all his or her gossip.

Lately the news has been all about what happened in Santa Barbara. Another boy gone off with a gun to shoot people he knew. What had the world come to?

Esta noche tan oscura con sus
Sombras tan tranquilos
Y el viento me sige cantando
Este humilde cancion
Este humilde cancion

Yet despite all the world's confusion that quiet voice of reason speaking in the darkness, filling the swells with sound and sense. And the beautiful woman on his show singing the impossibility of time in the old Dylan song, the one that teases with "if only" over and over again. The radio tearing at the heart. The way only friends are allowed to do.

If today was not a crooked highway
If tonight was not a crooked trail
If tomorrow wasn't such a long time
Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all

The Editor moved stolidly through the offices on this Memorial Day weekend, all the staffers glad to be taking a break. He moved to silence a radio that still played on the desk of one of the reporters. Someone had left their monitor on displaying the news from CNN.


Damn fools wasting electricity. He turned off the monitor and the desklamp and went out to the back after everything was shut up and sat heavily in the lawn chair on the deck, songs of the day running through his head.

Raindogs howl for the century
A million dollars at stake
As you search for your demi-god
And you fake we're the Saint
There's no sex in your violence
There's no sex in your violence
Try to see it once my way
Everything Zen
Everything Zen
I don't think so

He groaned and rubbed his eyes. He took another hit from his scotch and soda and dozed off there. He found himself moving through waist-high grass and a sloshy underfoot with his squad, once again flashing back to that day. There was an open space and woods beyond that. When they got to the edge, Sam moved forward on point and they were midway through that clearing when the incoming brought him down. Everybody got down and Rafael got on the radio while the guys out on the left and right let loose with their 50 cals. Sam was hit but still alive and the Editor could hear him calling out something. Nobody could tell from where it was coming and that is when Johnny stood up and charged forward against all common sense. The Editor woke abruptly to the banging of someone tossing rubbish into the dumpster in front of La Iglesia de La Luz del Mundo de Malduror with the opossum scurrying along the night fence and all the bugs from the box elder flocking.

He went back to his cubicle and poured another stiff one over rocks. Time to go fishing in the next few weeks. Definitely time to go and think about thinks. And remember everything.

Los besos que me diste mi amor
Son los que me estan matando
Ya las lagrimas me estan secando
Con mi pistola y mi corazon
Y aqui siempre paso la vida con
La pistola y el corazon

From far off across the water came the ululating howl of the throughpassing train as it trundled from where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stand glowing with their sentry lights, letting its blues cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, quavering through the cracked brick of the old Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading docks, its ghosts and its weedy railbed, moaning between the interstices of the chainlink fences as the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to parts unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

(songs reference are "La pistola y el Corazon" by Los Lobos, "Everything Zen" by Bush, "Tomorrow is a Long Time", by Bob Dylan.)

I don’t know how to tell you,
don’t know how to explain
that there is no remedy
for what I feel inside,
for what I feel inside

The moon tells me one thing,
the stars tell me another,
and the light of day sings me
this sad, sad song,
this sad, sad song

The kisses you gave me, my love,
are the ones that will kill me,
and the tears I’ve cried are drying
with my pistol and my heart,
and my life here goes by
with the pistol and the heart

I don’t know how to love you,
don’t know how to embrace you,
because this pain I feel,
this pain I feel
won’t leave me alone

The night is so dark
with its quiet shadows,
and the wind keeps singing
this humble song,
this humble song

The kisses you gave me, my love,
are the ones that will kill me,
and the tears I’ve cried are drying
with my pistol and my heart,
and my life here goes by
with the pistol and the heart